The Top 10 Green 4×4 Cars of 2012

This is our list of the Top 10 Green 4×4 Cars of 2012 currently available in the UK. They are mostly road-biased crossovers but there are also some very capable off-roaders, and all return more than 40 mpg.

There are eight diesels, one diesel-electric hybrid, and one petrol-electric hybrid. Like all four-wheel drive cars they should all offer additional traction and security on slippery country roads, and they should all be able to get you home if it snows… as long as they have a decent set of tyres.

Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 99g

1.
Peugeot 3008 HYbrid4 99g

Fuel: Diesel-electric hybrid

Fuel economy combined: 74.3 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 99 g/km

Power: 200 bhp

Price: £26,995

The Peugeot 3008 is definitely a crossover rather than a serious off-roader, and it even operates in front-wheel drive most of the time, but it’s worthy of first place in the Top 10 Green 4×4 cars of 2012 because of its amazing fuel economy of 74.3 mpg, which is courtesy of its diesel-electric hybrid system. The same system also endows it with four-wheel drive, due to the diesel engine providing power to the front wheels, and the electric motor sending drive to the rears.

Mini Countryman SD ALL4

2.
MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 57.6 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 130 g/km

Power: 141 bhp

Price: £23,290

The MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 is the complete all-round car. It’s a family hatch that is also good to drive, in addition it can provide extra security in low traction conditions, and hopefully it will get you home if it snows. It has the character of a MINI and so it is much more interesting than the average hatchback. It’s also class-leading in terms of economy and emissions, and has good performance. It shows that cars can be fun and green.

Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D-4D

3.
Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D-4D

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 57.6 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 130 g/km

Power: 89 bhp

Price: £18,305

The Toyota Urban Cruiser is a long way from being an off-roader, but, ground clearance aside, it’s surprisingly capable in slippery conditions. As its name implies, it’s designed as an urban crossover more than a machine for climbing mountains, so if you live in a city where it regularly snows, and you want a relatively low cost and economical way to get around, then this could be the car for you.

Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi

4. Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 55.4 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 135 g/km

Power: 128 bhp

Price: £24,595

Everyone, even Nissan, has been surprised by the success of the Qashqai crossover. It’s designed to be more appealing than a family hatchback, and in its latest form it’s also economical. It isn’t a serious off-roader, but Nissan does have a strong 4×4 car heritage, and the Qashqai shares some of those off-roading genes, whilst being car-like to drive.

BMW X3 xDrive20d automatic

5.
BMW X3 xDrive20d automatic

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 50.4 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 147 g/km

Power: 184 bhp

Price: £31,135

The latest X3 is excellent to drive, it looks the part, and it feels higher quality than the previous generation model. It’s also very economical – more so in automatic form than in manual. As with all four-wheel drive BMWs, it comes with tyres that are very road-biased; it’s essential to swap to winter tyres to maximise grip in snow and ice.

Range Rover Evoque

6.
Range Rover Evoque

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 49.6 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 149 g/km CO2

Power: 190 bhp

Price: £28,705

The fact that a Range Rover makes it into this list is amazing. The Evoque is also the most capable of all these vehicles off-road. It looks fantastic, and has a high quality feel inside. It’s refined to drive and handles much better than a Freelander. Although the price starts relatively low, to get all the desired options, most Evoques will cost around an extra £10,000 at least. The Evoque shows that you can still have a real 4×4 that is also economical.

BMW X1 xDrive18d

7.
BMW X1 xDrive18d

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 49.6 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 150 g/km CO2

Power: 141 bhp

Price: £25,770

The BMW X1 is economical, but bizarrely, not quite as economical as its larger and heavier brother, the X3. In keeping with BMW’s EfficientDynamics philosophy, it combines this economy with impressive performance. It’s agile, featuring good handling and a decent ride. Its looks may not appeal to everyone, and the interior doesn’t feel as luxurious as some other BMW models, but it still has the desirable BMW badge.

Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi

8.
Hyundai ix35 2.0 CRDi

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 49.6 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 149 g/km CO2

Power: 134 bhp

Price: £21,145

Hyundai is becoming a real force to be reckoned with. The brand is producing quality products that look good, drive well, and are desirable. The ix35 handles very well on the road, and will provide that extra bit of traction off-road. The interior is a pleasant environment, running costs will be low, and it should be reliable. There is also the Sportage from sister company Kia, which has the same fuel economy and emissions figures in 2.0 CRDi guise; both cars are similar to drive, with the main distinguishing feature being the design, which is more angular with the Kia, as opposed to the curved styling of the Hyundai.

Subaru Forester 2.0D X

9.
Subaru Forester 2.0D X

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 47.9 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 155 g/km CO2

Power: 150 bhp

Price: £23,070

Subaru has one of the best all-wheel drive systems in the business, as proven in rallying, as well as on farms worldwide, but fuel economy has historically not been one of the brands strong points. This changed with the introduction of Subaru’s boxer diesel engine, which maintains the vehicle’s low centre of gravity but also provides economy of nearly 50 mpg. The Forester is the only 4×4 car here that will give the Range Rover Evoque a good run for its money off-road, helped by the standard fitment of good on/off-road combination tyres.

Lexus RX 450h

10.
Lexus RX 450h

Fuel: Petrol-electric hybrid

Fuel economy combined: 44.8 mpg

CO 2
emissions: 145 g/km

Power: 295 bhp

Price: £44,530

The Lexus RX450h is the only petrol-engined car in this list, and it makes it in at number 10 on our list of green 4×4 cars of 2012 thanks to its hybrid system. Mating a battery and electric motor with the petrol engine results in an official combined figure of 44.8 mpg, and low emissions of 145 g/km. This car is more about luxury and performance than off-roading ability, and it’s also the most expensive car here, but it shows how clever technology can bring the emissions of a heavy 4×4 car down to family hatchback levels.

Paul Clarke

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